Food: A Guide to L.A.’s Late Night Dining Options

We’ve all been in this situation. You just went clubbing in West Hollywood, or just landed at LAX at midnight, or just went to Dodger Stadium and a Dodger Dog simply didn’t do the job. You’re stuck in Los Angeles at a late hour, and waiting another 40 minutes to eat in Claremont just isn’t possible. You won’t find many places serving pork belly with butternut squash confit at 2 a.m., but fortunately Los Angeles does have a very diverse and delicious array of late-night choices for those who consider 6 p.m. lunch time and 2 a.m. dinner time.Nothing can be better than a diner for late-night cravings.

The Original Pantry

, owned by former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, has been standing guard downtown since 1924, serving decent pancakes and a very acceptable burger that is more like a sandwich than a classic bun and patty.

Fred 62

in hip Los Feliz serves a menu as vast as the LA Basin, including a terrific goat cheese, avocado, and egg sandwich, along with sinful chocolate-chip-peanut-butter-banana pancakes in a space-themed room that looks as if the Jetsons and a “Happy Days” diner married and had a child. For those obsessed with HBO’s “Entourage,” take a seat in one of the booths at the

101 Coffee Shop

for a chic diner with so-so food and lots of Ari Gold wannabes. This is the diner where Vincent Chase and his posse frequently dine. I’d recommend just getting a coffee here then heading over to Thai Town next door for much better food.Beyond the stand by Mix Bowl on Indian Hill Boulevard, those seeking pad thai or something more exotic should head to

Krua Thai

in North Hollywood or in West Covina, a town on the way back to Claremont. Everything at Krua Thai is outstanding, especially the tom yum noodle soup with the thinnest transparent noodles known to man—and jellyfish. As it turns out, jellyfish does not in fact taste like jelly.

Trevor’s Late Night Picks

Original Pantry Café877 South Figueroa Street, Los AngelesOpen all day, everyday

Fred 62 1850 North Vermont Avenue, Los Feliz Open all day, everyday

101 Coffee Shop 6145 Franklin Avenue, Hollywood Open everyday, 7 a.m. to 3 a.m.

Krua Thai 935 S. Glendora Avenue, West Covina Open daily until 3:30 a.m.

Bulrocho 955 S. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles Open all day every day

BCD Tofu HouseNumerous locations, see Web siteOpen all day, everyday at most locations

Pink’s Hot Dogs711 North La Brea Avenue, HollywoodOpen until 2 a.m. Sunday-Thursday, 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday

The Original Tommy’s HamburgersNumerous locations, see Web siteMost are open very late, original location on Beverly Boulevard is open 24 hours

Canter’s Deli419 North Fairfax Avenue, Los AngelesOpen all day, everyday

Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles1518 North Gower Street, HollywoodOpen until midnight Sunday to Thursday, 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday

In N Out BurgerNumerous locations

*All taco trucks are usually open until 3 or 4 a.m.*

Taco Jeesy’sParks on East Cesar Chavez Avenue near Carmelita Avenue, East Los Angeles

La Golondrina Taco TruckParks on Huntington Drive near Eastern Avenue in front of Food For Less Market, El Sereno

Taco Zone WagonParks on Alvarado Street next to Von’s on Montana Avenue, Echo Park

Kogi Korean BBQ Taco TruckVarious locations, see Web site for updates

El Taurino2306 West 11th Street at South Hoover Street, Los Angeles

El MatadorParks in the car wash at 1174 North Western Avenue, by Lexington Street, Hollywood

Leo’s Taco TruckParks on Eagle Rock Boulevard, near Avenue 43, Eagle Rock

Cactus Taqueria950 Vine Street, Hollywood

Sergio’s Tacos2216 South Atlantic Avenue, East Los Angeles

Koreatown, just west of downtown, is easily the most dense concentration of late-night dining spots. If it’s been a rough night, cozy up with the outstanding goat stew served in an enormous cauldron at


. Goat may now be my favorite meat, unseating elk. The two waitresses also treated me like I was a king at Versailles, not a college student in a mini-mall off Western Avenue.

BCD Tofu House

has many outlets around LA, but the original on Wilshire Boulevard is its heart. The signature tofu stew with pork and beef is fine, but it is overshadowed by just how custardy and delicious this tofu is. Yes, apparently tofu can be delicious! I’m not lying!For a city that cares so much about self image, it is shocking how much Los Angeles loves its chili burgers and chili dogs.


on La Brea is as much a Hollywood fixture as the Walk of Fame. The eternal line for these outstanding chili dogs proves Pink’s is truly the hot dog purveyor for stars and wannabe stars. Be patient, very patient, and you’ll be rewarded. My favorite is the Martha Stewart dog with bacon and chopped sauerkraut—it’s a good thing.


is the city’s chili burger stop, stuffing patrons with its enormous cholesterol bombs since 1946.


on Fairfax is LA’s classic 24-hour Jewish deli. The pastrami on rye is obviously the best-known dish, but you can get any of your Jewish standards. In a completely different way,

Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles

is also an LA classic, the place where the country’s new passion for combining sweet with savory got its start. The combination works, although the chicken was too dry on one recent visit. Seriously, what doesn’t taste good with maple syrup?Of course I would be remiss not to mention the classic California late-night spot

In-N-Out Burger

. I don’t know if there is any meal in this world more satisfying than a double-double with cheese and grilled onions, animal-style fries, and a Neopolitan shake.Any list of LA’s best late-night spots would be worthless without what I consider the quintessential symbol of Los Angeles dining: the taco truck. My absolute favorite is the exquisite al pastor at East LA’s

Taco Jeesy’s

, run by a very friendly family in a tranquil setting right by the 710 freeway. The most friendly truck I’ve encountered is

La Golondrina

in the upscale suburb El Sereno. I love the tender cabeza (head cheese) taco served by the taco wagon

Taco Zone

and the Korean short rib taco at the ever-popular trio of

Kogi BBQ

trucks that prowl all over the city.

El Taurino

has the spiciest salsa you’ll ever encounter to accompany its famed al pastor taco, served either inside the restaurant or at its trailer in the parking lot. Supposedly

El Matador

serves the best al pastor taco, but I found the marinade a tad boring. I remember El Matador more for the prostitution bust going on across the street in grimy East Hollywood than for the tacos themselves.


is a terrific choice and a favorite of Occidental College students in Eagle Rock. In fact, the owner is so “with it” that he even has a Web site for his truck! Though tacos always taste better when served from a truck and eaten on the hood of your car,

Cactus Taqueria

in Hollywood and Sergio’s in East LA are the best non-mobile options I’ve found.Late night doesn’t have to mean chili dogs or omelets. Consider jellyfish, goat, or lengua tacos! Or, you can just get fried chicken and waffles and be content as well. Either way, keep those eyelids open late and you are sure to be satisfied in this city.

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